Heading into its second season, Fan Controlled Football has signed a broadcast deal with NBCUniversal subsidiary NBCLX that will see the league’s action aired across linear broadcast TV, cable channels and Peacock. FCF games will also be broadcast on Twitch, as they were during the inaugural season.
“Fan Controlled Football is a highly engaging and innovative experience, which makes it a great addition to NBCLX’s content portfolio and a great match for our audience,” Meredith McGinn, NBCUniversal Local’s EVP of Diginets & Original Production, said in a statement. FCF will continue producing the games, while NBCLX has committed to creating additional content as well. The league is also growing from four to eight teams.
In an interview, FCF CEO and co-founder Sohrob Farudi said conversations with prospective media partners began before the league’s first year ended in March. “They saw the product, and they were like, Oh, damn, this is real, and it’s cool,” he said.
With expanded distribution, FCF hopes to woo fans of multiple generations. Last season, its average viewer was 25 years old, with diehards hooked on the video game-like ability to call plays and help create their team of choice. FCF also wants to attract older fans, who might appreciate some of the fantasy football-like gaming elements, but who also can simply lean back and watch a football game during the NFL’s off-season. Though FCF plays on a 50-by-35 yard field in a 7-on-7 format, it still offers players a chance to audition for the NFL. “What we’re focused on is creating something that everybody can love,” Farudi said.
NBCLX, NBCUniversal Local’s TV and streaming network, generally targets the 18-45 demographic and has a TV presence in over 40 markets.
FCF, which is building a football league around video game mechanics and an interactive app, has emerged alongside tech buzzwords like NFTs and metaverses. Farudi said the league is looking into how those trends might help deepen its connection to fans, but he’s quick to separate his product from those solely focused on digital experiences.
“What we’re doing is rooted in the physical world,” he said. “Everybody seems to be focused on what’s happening in the digital world. And it’s like 100% of the focus is there. And my thought is, I don’t see the physical world going away anytime soon. So what we really want to do is take the best of both.”